In an era dominated by visually stunning blockbusters, a groundbreaking new film titled Touch is carving out a niche for those in the blind and low vision community.

Billed as Australia’s first feature-length pictureless film, Touch revolutionises how audiences experience movies, inviting them to perceive cinema in a completely new light — or rather, in the darkness.

Ben Phillips, who has been blind since birth, worked on the film as a director’s attachment. “I know what it’s like to go into a cinema and not fully appreciate the story being told on the screen,” he said.

“I often have to use my imagination to fill in the gaps, but this film takes it to a whole new level.”

Under the guidance of award-winning director Tony Krawitz, the film embarks on a journey into the unseen, where the narrative is conveyed entirely through sound.

“Every step of the way, we have been collaborating with members of the community as attachments, collaborators, and focus groups to discover what they desired from a film like this,” he said.

The immersive cinematic experience, made possible through a partnership with Mastercard and Westpac, challenges conventional filmmaking by prioritising sound over visuals.

“Normally, sound comes last and pictures come first. Here, it has been a complete reorganisation of thinking, from the script, to working with the actors, to the sound designers and composers,” said Krawitz.

The storyline follows a man who, alongside two unlikely companions, is forced to literally navigate a mindfield — the consciousness of his father.

The movie premiered at Sydney's Open Air cinema.

The film’s auditory landscape was crafted by low-vision Foley artist Eliza-Jane South, whose innovative use of everyday items helped create the storytelling.

“We were literally on our hands and knees with trays of thawing mince meat, chickens, melons, oranges, and latex gloves, creating the sound effects.”

Both Phillips and South credited the film for offering a platform for the blind and low vision community to be able to share their world with a broader audience.

“It’s giving us the opportunity to actually draw people in and share our world with them for 60 minutes,” said South.

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